Laugh away your symptoms

There are many ways in which you can improve your mental health. One that is often overlooked, though, is humor. Can you laugh away your symptoms?

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When I am out and about with friends and or family, you’ll often find them shaking their head. Then it’s followed with an “Oh, John.” I usually follow up with, “what?”

So then, why do those around me feel the need to react in such a way? Because I am funny, of course – or at least I think I am. Hey, that’s what matters most – right?

While my brand of humor isn’t for everyone, I have been able to get a giggle or two. “If I can add a little light to someone’s day, then why not?” Another one of my trademark responses to shaking heads.

And for the longest time, I have tried to figure out who I am being funny for. Myself, for others, or for both. I’d like to think it’s for both. However, if you were to ask me who it’s mostly for, I’d have to say for me. I came to this conclusion because I often find myself saying, “John, just laugh away your symptoms. You can cope with what’s going on around you better.”

On the other hand, though, I really dislike seeing others suffer. So, I do one of two things – I offer support in any way I can, or I try and make people laugh.

Check out contributing writer Parika Bhatli

  • Make time for yourself.
    The whole ideology of me-time is to take that time out for yourselves and reflect on what’s happening to you. So, make time for yourself.
  • Work in progress!
    I am happy with the direction I’m heading in. And with this, I have realized that I am a work in progress! We are all a work in progress
  • It’s the journey not the destination.
    The recovery journey was like a roller coaster ride. Until I realized, It’s the journey, not the destination. I hope you are doing fine
  • Que Sera, Sera
    Que Sera, Sera – After my fight against depression, I was looking for happiness and love, and I found one, but little did I know that it would be some trauma I had to deal with.
  • It’s been a month
    PTSD and I have been friends for more than a month now. Still, there are times I am completely unknown of the fact that a trigger/flashback might ruin my day.

Humor as a mask?

Even though I feel like I have a good handle on why I like playing the role of a court jester, I think there’s more. For example, we undoubtedly all have had the “classical class clown” in our day. But I bet you’ve never considered why. Furthermore, I bet you may have thought their attempt at being funny was a ploy to distract the class.

But human behaviour is rarely as simplistic as this assumption makes it. In reality, we often wear humor as a mask. I believe we do this for two reasons.

  1. We are hurting on the inside, but we have no idea why – “Why do I feel sad all the time, like I am worthless?” (Depression).
  2. We are overwhelmed and feel like we are drowning in the environment we are in. (Unaware that we have a sensitivity to noise. On the autism spectrum or suffering from trauma).

While the above example uses the class-clown scenario, adults have the world as their platform. And…. we may know why we joke and carry on. In my case, I am, most times, just trying to cope with a world I can hardly cope with.

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Jonathan on the cover of his book, The Road To Mental Wellness -Laugh away your symptoms
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Author Jonathan Arenburg bravely tells his story of his life-long struggles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Since childhood, Jonathan has found a way to not just survive, but to overcome…Join him as he tells his story, hoping to help you on your own Road To Mental Wellness Get a sneak peak of the book here Sneak Peek -The Road To Mental Wellness

Therefore, humour is, for me, and I suspect for many others, a coping tool to just “get through” what causes them to feel so much mental pain.

So, keep cracking those jokes and keep making people laugh – its ok to laugh away your symptoms.

The mental health benefits of laughing

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Arenburg is a mental health blogger, S speaker, writer, and published author; He is also the host of the mental wellness podcast, #thewellnesstalksHe has also appeared in the i'Mpossible's Lemonade Stand III. He has also been a contributing writer for Mental health talk, a column in his local paper. In addition, he has also written for the mental health advocacy organization; Sick Not Weak.Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health-related podcasts Including: A New Dawn, The Depression Files, Books and Authors, and Men Are Nuts. Since being put off work because of PTSD, Jonathan has dedicated his time to his mental wellness journey while helping others along the way.Educated as an addictions' counsellor, he has dedicated most of his professional life of eighteen years, working with those who have intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges, and mental illness.He has also spent fifteen years in the volunteer fire service helping his community.His new book (2021), “The Road To Mental Wellness,” goes into detail about his life-long battle with depression, anxiety and more recently, PTSD. In it, he hopes to provide insight on how mental illness cultivates over a lifetime and, if not recognized and treated, how it impacts the entirety of one's life; right from childhood into the adult years. Jonathan lives with his two children in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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